Data Center

The following "Economic Development Department - 2011/2012 Work Plan" is a plan that outlines specific initiatives that will be pursued on an ongoing basis, as well as near-, mid-, and long-term initiatives that will be implemented in order to achieve Rice County's economic development goals.
Main Street EconomistA steep recession and financial meltdown have led to tight credit markets in rural America.  In the latest issue of the Main Street Economist, economist Brian Briggeman explores how credit conditions are evolving for rural business owners, shedding light on current credit markets and providing rural business owners information they can use to identify when credit markets turn.  You can find the full article at:
Employment in South Central and Southeast Minnesota
“Employment in South Central and Southeast Minnesota” is a PowerPoint presentation given by Jennifer Ridgeway from Positively Minnesota. This presentation is about job growth in the labor market, and information on unemployment and lay-offs. Forecasts and advice for what to do in the future is provided as well.
Measuring ImpactThe immediate economic impact of a new firm can be significant, depending on the level of investments and tax abatements given to attract the plant to a community.  Any level of employment by a new firm will boost total employment by creating additional jobs in the local economy.  Salaries and wages paid by the new workers will produce secondary spending, income, and employment for area residents.  In the short run, economic conditions should improve in the local community.  The full article, “Measuring the Impact of New Industry in Town,” can be found at:
ARRAAt, you will find out about what the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is and the opportunities it provides. To find more information on State and Federal Stimulus Information, visit Here you will find things such as expected ARRA spending by major area in Minnesota, and how Minnesota is going about implementing the Recovery Act. Please visit to search and apply for available federal government grants. is a central storehouse for information on over 1,000 grant programs and provides access to approximately $500 billion in annual awards.
SMEFThe Strategy Summit held May 15th at Minnesota State University, Mankato by the Southern Minnesota Regional Competitiveness Partnership, was honored to have almost 200 people in attendance. Guests ranged from representatives of local industry and small businesses to entrepreneurs, community leaders, education and government workers. To read the report "Southern Minnesota's Economic Future: Findings, Strategic Framework and Game Plan" on the 16 months of work showing the economic strength in the 38-county region and its representation of bioscience and renewable energy, visit:
Small Business in Focus"Small Business In Focus: Finance," a compendium of four studies sponsored by the SBA's Office of Advocacy offers insight into the ways small businesses use financing, based on data from various sources.
Small Business Administration ResearchA snapshot of research completed by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration during 2007. Additional information and updates can be found at
Alternative Sanitary Sewer/Portable Water AnalysisThe intent of this report is to analyze the infrastructure options for potable water and wastewater treatment for the Rice County / I-35 Highway Commercial Area (located between County Road 1 and Highway 19)
Rice County is located in Central Minnesota just 30 miles south of the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. Combining its 6 cities, the county encompasses an area of 496 square miles.  Interstate 35 extends north/south directly through the center of Rice County. This provides connectivity to the Metropolitan Area, and is just 40 minutes from the Minneapolis/St. Paul international airport.  State Highways 19 and 3 intersect in the Northfield area, as well as US Highway 52 which leads to Rochester and the Mayo Clinic.  Highway 21 and 60 run through the Faribault area which allows for travel north and south as well as east and west.
Rice County Land Use DataListed are Rice County’s land use coverage in acres and percentages. At almost 59%, Rice County is primarily agricultural land, but 9% is classified as urban coverage.  A little under a quarter of the land adds up to be forest, grass and wetland areas.  Rice County’s total area is 329,914 acres.
Rice County Labor StatisticsThe current labor force in Rice County is 34,214 with the unemployment rate a little over 9%. The unemployment rate has recently increased due to the downturn of the economy.
Rice County Income StatisticsBoth the Median Household Income statistics as well as the Per Capita Income Statistics have increased from 2000 to 2008. This shows that there is growth within Rice County.
Rice County Estimated Market ValuesEach figure in this chart represents the class’s total estimated market value for the county, as determined in 2008. In the assessor’s office, the assessor is responsible for discovering, listing and valuing all taxable property, both real and personal, for tax purposes.

Economic Development Committees:

Master Development Committee for Implementation of Zoning Change, Interstate 35/CR 1 Study Area
Committee #1 - AUAR Final Report  (24.3 MB)
Interstate 35 Corridor Planning Committee
Committee #2 - Final Report  (13.10 MB)
Countywide Economic Development Initiative
Committee #3 - Final Report  (5.82 MB)